The Business On... Richard Breeden, Hedge fund manager

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The Independent Online

Not another one?

You're right, it's a growth industry, despite all the whingeing in the City about how tax and regulation is making life tough for the poor dears. But Mr Breeden's remarkable CV stands out from the crowd.

Tell me more.

Well, with degrees from Stanford and Yale to his name, Mr Breeden spent the early part of his career practising securities law in New York before taking a series of Government posts. He worked for Presidents Reagan, Bush Senior and Clinton, and was also chairman of the Securities and Exchange Commission, the all- powerful US financial regulator.

So what's he up these days?

Well, after quitting the SEC in 1993, he spent 10 years working with distressed companies – the turnaround of WorldCom was one of his, for example. Then he founded a hedge fund business, which includes Breedon European Partners.

Should I know it?

Until this week, it owned 13 per cent of Connaught, the social housing group laid low by profits warnings and debt worries over the past month.

What's a bigwig like this doing with such a small company?

Told you he liked rescue situations. The gossip is that his fund wanted to merge Connaught with Mears, another small company in which it has a chunky stake.

But no longer?

It seems the fund has decided Connaught may not be salvageable – it has halved its stake in the company, booking a £15m loss.

That can't feel good?

Probably not, though Mr Breeden may have some bigger worries right now. He's one of the defendants in an $800m (£512m) libel suit being brought by Conrad Black, the former media mogul just released from prison in the US. Mr Breeden once described Black's stewardship of Hollinger International as "corporate kleptocracy" in a 500-page report for the company on its former boss's activities.